The controversial former Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford has died, aged 46.
Mr Ford’s family confirmed in a statement today that the politician had died after a two-year battle with a rare and aggressive cancer.
The politician served a tumultuous term as the 64th Mayor of Toronto, from 2010 to 2014, in which he very publicly battled drug addiction and struggled under the weight of a number of major scandals.
Mr Ford – who was caught smoking crack cocaine, drink-driving and injecting heroin during his term of office – was an opponent of LGBT rights, refusing to join a standing ovation to praise the organisers of WorldPride Toronto, and voted against a council proposal to help homeless LGBT teens.
Ford was the only person on the entirety of Toronto City Council to vote against the LGBT homelessness proposal in 2014 – leading it to pass on a vote on 37-1.
After being branded homophobic by a colleague, he insisted: “I’m a spendaphobe, that’s what I am.
“Let’s talk about how much money I’ve saved the taxpayers and I got subways built. And I contracted out garbage. You don’t want to talk about that, do you?”
Despite spending time in rehab for his drug problem and facing several police investigations, Mr Ford steadfastly refused to resign. He was campaigning for re-election when he was diagnosed with cancer, forcing him to drop out of the race.
A statement from his family today said: “With heavy hearts and profound sadness, the Ford family announces the passing of their beloved son, brother, husband, and father, Councillor Rob Ford earlier today at the age of 46.
“A dedicated man of the people, Councillor Ford spent his life serving the citizens of Toronto.
“The family asks that you respect their privacy and join them in their grieving and their prayers.
“The family will not be making any statements to the media or taking any questions. Information will follow at a later time regarding memorial services.
“Over his decade and a half in municipal politics, Ford won a devoted following for being a straight talker who championed the average taxpayer.”